DRAFT TODAY, POST TOMORROW: Some posts may be in draft status until I (aka procrastinator extraordinaire) get around to posting them.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas holidays

My sister C was here this week and we did a whole lot of nothing. Watching TV. Sleeping. Hanging out. Rotating dogs, damn that little Teka. C's dogs really wanted to play with her too but they had to settle for Cassi. And watching Teka from across the room.
my first scarf photo
As my Christmas gift, my awesome counterpart husband Mick helped me pick out and get frames for my dad's paintings we brought back from Texas. They turned out great.

My dad painted it!
We were able to host Christmas Eve at our house. Mick smoked elk steak and salmon; I made mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and salad and we reheated some previously smoked ribs.

Eating as good as it gets!
It was amazing. And great fun. My FIL and MIL came over. On Christmas, we went to my grandparents' house (I took leftovers) and then my BIL's. I was hoping to see more family but that was quite enough for me. I'm going to miss my sissy until I see her again...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Return visit

My girl S is in town with her family for the holidays so we visited with them and some other friends. I love her girl B who I so rarely see but we get along so well. I couldn't eat while we were there and I could tell that S was a little baffled by how little she knew about what was going on with me, my health, and my diet. I feel terrible that we never talk now but I'm terrible about calling people. I'd rather hang out. And it's hard long-distance! I was hoping there would be overlap in her visit and my sister's visit, but just barely, none at all.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Recovery week

Monday: my FIL mentioned that my incision area looks swollen; Mick agreed. I'm not sure what I can do about it. I left a message with the surgeon's office about following up.

Cassi brought me a present. In my kitchen. Yay for doggie doors?
Good birddog. Sigh.
Wednesday: my FIL offered to drive me around to my appointments. We started with the drug trial monitoring. L had a little trouble with the blood draw; she said I seemed dehydrated but she also seemed to be too far over the first time. It hurt, but the second try was perfect. It seemed like everything took a while but we were finally done after updating the meds list. She said she can get the hospital records for the rest.

Then we met L at Dr. M's office for the quarterly monitoring tests. I was surprised that he didn't say anything at all about my neck. My eyesight on the left is really terrible; I started on a pretty high line on the chart and then he asked me to read the next one down but didn't ask me to go any further down. He did add a little "memory" test at the end. He gave me three word to remember, asked a few questions, then asked for the words, which I remembered fine.

Next we headed to the surgeon's office for my follow-up appointment. I had my list of questions from Mick. I probably should have had FIL come in with me to talk with the surgeon but since he had declined earlier, I didn't think of it.
Before. Eww.
He took my bandages off, which I wasn't expecting but was very happy about. He said I had expected swelling but the incision looks very good. The gland was higher in my long neck. He was very happy with the surgery and I don't have cancer. What he saw was consistent with Graves disease. Graves tends to be improved by surgery. I wrote down: proctosis, ocular issues can still progress, lymphoytic. Yeah, all Greek to me.

After. It's puffy. Eww.
He recommended Auqaphor twice a day on the incision and follow up in 3 months.

After we left, we had to go back to get my phone. Fortunately, we had only gotten to the freeway, not all the way home!

I wanted to make something that I could eat for a few days so I made a split pea soup with leftover ham on the bone I had frozen after Thanksgiving. I thought it turned out fantastic. Mick won't eat it. But I'm home all day without him so that works out fine! He's off next week and my sister is coming to visit!

split pea soup

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


The third and final book in the Hunger Games series was, Mockingjay, a continuation of Catching Fire. I thought it was well paced although I found the reading a little off somehow in some places. I'm not sure how, but maybe a little distracting in a way.

I really enjoyed listening to the book overall. I would recommend this series. I felt some of it was predictable but some of it definitely wasn't. The author wrapped it up nicely although the ending seemed kind of rushed or thin to me. I can see that the movies should be good but there is a lot of inner struggle that will be hard to translate into an action movie.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

And it's gone!

pre-surgery flowers left at my house
I had my surgery at Scottsdale Health Care Shea on Thursday to remove my faulty thyroid. Mick took me, left for work when I was called to the OR, and came back at the end of the day. He didn't miss anything too exciting. Except these awesome socks--free gift with surgery purchase!

Socks for thyroid--fair swap?
I wasn't sure I'd be able to eat so I brought my own broth and applesauce. I ate okay though. They had applesauce, canned fruit, steamed veggies, rice, chicken and salmon.
Mick's parents and my grandparents came to visit. My in-laws brought my crackers I had forgotten. BTW, I like my broth (Kitchen Basics) for cooking, but it's not so great for drinking. At least the vegetable broth, which I brought since I found it in smaller containers (so I wouldn't need a refrigerator for the carton.)

I was let go on Friday because my insurance wouldn't pay for any more nights. My calcium level had already come back up so the doctor (not mine--I haven't seen my surgeon since the surgery!) said I should be fine to go home.
"Dog friends" sent flowers to the hospital

Friday, December 7, 2012

Fish, books, and icicles

My surgery is confirmed--it will be next week. I've notified my work that I'll be out of the office the rest of the year afterwards. I've started notifying other "interested parties" as well.

We went to dinner for a family member's birthday. I was instructed to pick, so I gave them a list of restaurants near my office, and then followed with a suggestion for King's Fish House. If I had known the kids weren't coming out, I would have skipped the list and just said True Food Kitchen!

We sat in a booth in the bar and the waiter and I came to an agreement that he would make a real margarita for me (with lime juice instead of the standard sweet and sour mix). When we had the allergy conversation, he said they clean the grill in the area they will cook my fish, they don't use soybean oil anyway. I had mahi mahi with garlic spinach and grilled zucchini with a ceviche appetizer (I didn't eat the chips). Very good, kind of expensive, everyone liked it.

We got this cute-ish photo in front of these neat LED icicles. And my hair seems to be recovering from these thyroid issues.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

MY person

I feel like a complainer. I'm starting to think it's because my husband Mick often tells me that I'm "bitching." He's used this phrase for quite a while; whenever I have anything to say, which I think is factual, (but must be my opinion or I wouldn't get this reaction, right?) I'm bitching.

My baba ganoush is not very photogenic
The other day, we were in the kitchen together, and I was feeling kind of frazzled. I had taken on too much at one time and managed to make terrible chicken for dinner. I wanted to go to bed but still needed to finish the baba ganoush and put away the rest of the stuff I cooked as well as clean up the mess I had made. But I couldn't get the (new) food processor to process. He tried to help me and we both ended up frustrated. He wanted to know if I read the instruction book (really?!) so I found it and gave it to him and he said it wasn't helpful. I thought I should take the "stuff" out of it and use my mini-processor. And then he said I was "bitching." At that point, I'm thinking he's just trying to push my buttons.

So I was really surprised at how I felt today. But maybe I shouldn't be. I'm scheduling my surgery and the doctor's office is checking a couple of dates with the hospital and my insurance. I tell Mick the dates to find out if there's any problem--he will have to take me, I stay at least overnight, and then he has to take me home. It's about an hour from our house. Totally sucks but that's where almost all the good surgeons seem to be located. Or even farther!

He tells me that if he can't, his helper can pick me up. And maybe it's just residual from the office drama I dealt with today, but I'm weepy after I get off the phone. That I don't want that person to be there. I want my person to be there. And now I feel ungrateful. AGAIN. As usual. But what can I say? Insist he take time off work? That's silly, right?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Five Guys and a garden harvest

After some terrible bowling, we went to Five Guys. I had a double burger with tomatoes and pickles and wrapped in lettuce. And regular fries--salt, not cajun seasoned. It was yummy. And I ate almost all of it. I didn't feel stuffed, which surprised me since everyone told me that the fries would be way too much. But I so rarely eat fries now, so I was pretty happy. They made me think of the old days, going to Wendy's for fries and a frosty, so I might have to get some fries to go or make a shake to take with me!

I was decorating the Christmas tree when I realized it was close to getting dark, so I went out to pick some eggplants, peppers, and basil. My husband or his helper had already picked pomegranates. I don't think they are ripe--they don't look juicy and red on the inside when I cut them open.
red and green bell peppers, eggplant, basil, poms
What am I going to do with all this?

Thursday, November 22, 2012


We started the 21 pound turkey last night, unsure how long it would take on the smoker. It was done in about six hours. It turned out fantastic, especially the dark meat.

I made the strawberry rhubarb pies, using a medley of recipes, adding a package of fresh blackberries to the second one. I used a combination of arrowroot powder (a heaping 2 Tbsp) and sugar (3/4 cup in the first and 1/2 cup in the second with a package of frozen rhubarb and 2 heaping cups of sliced fresh strawberries. I topped the second one with a crumb mix. They were too wet though. I thought it would work out okay but the first one overflowed while cooking and the topping on the second one soaked up a lot of the liquid. Fortunately, they tasted good, the crust was good, the filling was good, but the pies just seemed a bit soggy. No one else even tried it so I should have done one and done a pecan pie for the second one.

I cut up the veggies for roasting tomorrow while the pies were baking. It was mostly brussels sprouts but I added a head of broccoli, a head of cauliflower, the carrots leftover from the turkey and broth prep, and a red pepper from my garden.

This morning, I found that my 9+ pound ham wouldn't fit in my crockpot. Oops. But there weren't any smaller hams, so what could I have done. I decided to bake it and found comments saying that people had used tin foil to tent the ham when the ham was too tall, so I put my orange slices in the bottom of a glass baking dish, put the ham on top, mixed my pineapple juice and maple syrup and poured in, then used my hands to mix some juice into brown sugar to make a paste and rubbed all over the ham. I baked it for a few hours until the oven was needed to rewarm the turkeys. The ham turned out AWESOME--everyone loved it.

I started the giblets and veggies for stock to make gravy. It eventually reduced by about half. I fished the liver out and ate it. (I know, I'm weird but I like the liver, just not the rest of the gizzards.) In another pan, I put the "drippings" and veggies from the turkey. It included a lot of liquid from the wine and apple cider Mick used in the turkey baste. It reduced some and we later strained both pans and combined them. I added arrowroot powder but forgot that it needs to be mixed with water or something first, so I had to fish out some lumps and then add it again. It thickened up nicely but I thought it tasted too sweet because of the white wine and apple juice. But everyone who tried it seemed to like it. There was a jar of Heinz gravy that was brought with the other turkey.

I peeled 5 pounds of potatoes and 5 pounds of sweet potatoes. I made the potatoes first, cutting up, then boiling them. I saved some of the water when I drained them; I mashed them with a little of the reserved water, salt and pepper. I added some garlic powder and Earth Balance soy-free "butter" and blended with a hand mixer. I added more salt and pepper, some coconut milk creamer, and some fresh chopped parsley. I asked Mick to taste it and he said "perfect." I put them in a crockpot and they were almost gone by the end of lunch.

I cut up the sweet potatoes and boiled them. I drained and mashed them with a little reserved water, adding a dash of salt. Then I used the hand mixer and added some Earth Balance "butter," a few handfuls of dark brown sugar, a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, and some hazelnut coconut milk creamer. I put them in a crockpot. Everyone was asking for the recipe and were shocked that they are non-dairy. Yum!

I put the veggies in to roast after the turkeys were rewarmed. I heard that my BIL went back for seconds, he liked them so much. I also cooked some carrot "coins" with "butter" (coconut oil or olive oil would work too, but I wanted the butter taste) and turbinado sugar. It didn't make a lot but they were gone in no time. I didn't care for the Sprouts canned cranberry sauce--it was fine tasting but got really soft and melty. My FIL brought some from the F&E cold case and it was better. No one ate salad except me--note to self--do not serve salad at Thanksgiving!

There were a dozen kids (and almost as many adults!) and they had a great time so I think everyone who attended will be open to us hosting some holidays. But the family who didn't want to come, didn't. And some who I thought were coming didn't either. I thought it was very successful anyway!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Shopping for Thanksgiving

A family member told a family member told my husband that we are hosting Thanksgiving. I checked in with my family; the group we always see basically said no, they don't want to do the drive (um, cause that's worse than cooking for days?) and the other group said awesome. That group has never been over yet so I'm pretty excited. And they have lots of little kids to play with the kids on my husband's side.

I read a little about g/f turkeys and hams but other allergens weren't addressed too much. I started with the turkey, which my husband is going to smoke in his Green Egg. I ended up ordering one at Sprouts. Afterwards, a coworker told me they also have organic fresh turkeys, but I don't know that I would have ordered organic. I looked at frozen turkeys while at Fresh & Easy because I got a free turkey. My shopping day happened to be a free turkey day for purchases of $30 or more. Both brands of turkeys they had included ingredients that I definitely can't have. The Jenny-O turkey that was free had a trifecta of allergens, so I'm going to donate it.

The hams didn't really say that they had wheat, diary, or soy in them, but they had a lot of questionable ingredients. I asked at Sprouts if the hams were g/f and was told that it would say g/f if they were. Well, I'm not sure that's right, but I had heard that Honey Baked Ham had a g/f ham so I called. The lady confirmed that their hams are g/f and read the ingredients. I commented on the ones she could barely pronounce and she said that's why you can keep it in the fridge for a few days. Hmm, okay, that's my back up plan.

Someone mentioned Whole Foods to me, so I decided to check it out. I needed a refill of the local BBQ sauce we use when I haven't made sauce, so I was planning to go anyway. They had fresh organic hams--large and no weird ingredients, going as far as to be labeled g/f and "lactose free" which I'm going to say means dairy free. The guy working there chatted with me, told me to get the uncut (not spiral) for my crock pot ham recipe, and said his parents smoke their turkey and it turns out fantastic. I asked if they carry twine I could buy and he gave me some "premium--the best twine" from behind the meat counter. I also bought a whole lotta coconut milk ice cream since they had them on sale for $4.99 a pint. That's the best price I ever see them sold at.

While I was at Sunflower Market getting some taco shells (they carry Garden of Eden yellow or blue corn hard shells; Sprouts doesn't carry them so I'm nervous that they won't have them anymore after the "official" transition in January), I found the most amazing thing. Wholly Wholesome pie crusts--frozen crusts without wheat, dairy, eggs! Oh, yeah. I got a package and then found frozen rhubarb! I've never used frozen rhubarb but I'll give it a try--I love strawberry rhubarb pie when I can find it. Or at least I used to.

I'm sure I'll go overboard, so I'm trying to restrain myself. My tentative menu is smoked turkey, crockpot ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts, "buttered" carrots, salad, gravy, cranberry sauce, olives and sweet pickles, and strawberry rhubarb pie. And others are bringing stuffing, corn, crescent rolls, deviled eggs, and pumpkin pie. Too much?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

To vet we go

I had a couple things I felt needed to be done with some urgency, so I decided to take a day off to do them. I started by sleeping in--obeying doctors orders to get more rest!

I took Teka to the vet. A few weeks ago, she started favoring her back left foot. It started with that "have something in the foot" type of action (when nothing was in her foot) but progressed to her limping around like a three-legged dog. It doesn't seem to be associate with more or less activity; I haven't seen her do it at agility classes. But it is increasing in frequency and duration so I took her in.

The vet reviewed her file and said she did the same thing with her back RIGHT foot when she was being treated for Valley Fever. We did an X-ray at the time but nothing showed on the x-ray then so he wasn't sure it was necessary. We decided to do a Valley Fever test for now and see if it's active again. I should know by next week.

We met my friend J for lunch at Bamboo Spice, where I had the excellent ice tea and chicken tikka masala. The weahter was good so I parked in the shade and ran into Whole Foods before heading home.

After a short time home, I went to have my car serviced, which took over 2 hours. Sigh. Such a waste of time. But I got some reading in.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Superstition Kennel Club AKC Agility Trial

I took a day off for an agility trial with Teka. I was hoping it was worthwhile and nervous that it was a waste of time and money. I didn't take the man with me. My instructor G was there and her friend took video for me. (I'll post it if I ever figure out how to get it off my I-pad!)

First was the Novice Jumpers with Weaves (preferred jump height). I decided against doing a lead out, opting to run with her. Of course, when we got to the weaves, she tried to not do them, but I was able to get on the other side and walk her in and out of the first couple. Then she did the rest. After that, she was great going the rest of the way through the course. And she Q'd.

Jumpers course map
Very shortly after we finished our run, it was our turn on the Open Standard course (also preferred height). She started out okay but when we got to the weaves, she walked past. I called her back to retry. She walked past--totally like "I don't see them, I don't see them..." I decided to go on. She did fantastic the rest of the course, although it felt like she needed some cheerleading through the 14 and 15 jumps into the tunnel but then she picked speed up again for the end. It wasn't a Q since she skipped the weaves, but I guess at least she didn't pee or poo in the ring. But I'm disappointed that she did so poorly with the weaves.

Standard course map
Surprisingly good photo of me; Teka is disinterested (that's a word, right?)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Agility Class

We had three exercises tonight.

First was the one with the weaves. Teka kept popping out at the #10 pole and we finally figured out that I'm decelerating to turn toward the tunnel. When I ran on the outside instead of in between the weaves and tunnel, she completed the weaves. I was really enlightened here. If I can get her into the weaves, I should try to do crosses afterwards so that I'm out in front of her.

Next we had three jumps with a line. We were to stay on one side while they are on the other doing the jumps. We sent them over and between the jumps so they had to go out, come in, go out over the jump, in between and back out the next jump. Then they had to come over the jumps instead of going out over the jumps.

Last, we had a box of jumps with a couple of tunnels. We were to stay in the box of jumps while sending out to the tunnels. I couldn't believe how awesome Teka did at this.

A seven year old puppy

We kennel trained both of our dogs when they were puppies. When they weren't in the kennel, we kept a close eye on them. I used the leash method, to keep the puppy close by when I was doing things. So we didn't really have issues with chewing.

When they were older than a year, they had more freedom. Cassi started chewing on the baseboards at the top of the stairs when she was almost 2 years old. We retrained her to chew on a bone.

Teka started chewing the exact same spot when she was about a year and a half. It didn't last long. We think that the cats rubbed that spot and the dogs liked it. It happened with the edge of a scrapbook too.

She has been chewing tissues and stuff for at least that long. We replaced all our bathroom trash cans with lidded cans due to her shredding everything. For a while that worked and then she started finding papers and chewing the edges. About a year ago, we figured out that she would chew a napkin and leave everything else alone if we left one out overnight.   Last night, we weren't home for dinner and I forgot to leave a napkin out. This morning, I found a book pulled off the bottom bookshelf and the top bound edge chewed. The two books next to that one on the shelf were also chewed on the top. W. T. F.   So Teka will be kenneled at night. Every night. It's fantastic that she likes her kennel but terrible that she can't be trusted in the house without supervision. On the upside, maybe that is a step to getting another dog. Or not. That's still a huge amount of work, keeping dogs separated, shuffling who is in and who is out. Anyway, I am so disappointed. My seven year old dog is a terrible (but happy) puppy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spiced Chicken with Black Eye Peas and Rice

People ask me all. the. time. "what do you eat" or "what can you eat" or some variation on those. I have been a recipe collector for many years--I don't make the majority of them but I sure do have a lot of them! I have a collection of cookbooks that I'd like to thin out. And I'm looking at buying a couple more.

I went to Half Price Books to see if they have a book I borrowed from the library. I didn't have a chance to make any recipes from it but I think it will be a good book for me to use: Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals (Mark's Daily Apple). I also wanted to check out Practically Paleo (Balanced Bites) but there seems to be a waiting list; it has great feedback everywhere I've looked and it has an autoimmune protocol section so I think I might purchase it as well. I didn't find what I was looking for but they had some Mark Bittman books on the clearance rack. I have How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and I almost always check them when I have a random ingredient that I'm not sure how I want to use. So I thought, eh, I don't need another but I'll check out these two they have for $2 each. And I got How to Cook Everything Quick Cooking. It breaks my "must have many photos rule" but his other books do too, and as I flipped through this one, he kept the recipes simple enough that I don't have to make a lot of substitutions on many of them.

When I had lunch with J last week, she mentioned that her guy had made dinner and she commented that it was something I could eat, just as it was, no modifications. Apparently they have the 'what can V eat' conversation when I'm not even there. A lady I used to work with would tell me that she would think that while they were making dinner at her house--can V eat it? So J's comments reminded me that I want to keep going back to my old cookbooks to see what I really have that I can make without minimal changes.

I love, love, love Cooking Light. I got their magazine for years and still have stacks of them as well as a binder and a box of pages I tore out. Yes, seriously. Have I not told you that I'm a recipe hoarder? I do not lie!

Tonight, I pulled out one of my CL cookbooks and found a recipe for Spiced Chicken with Black Eye Peas and Rice. I read the recipe, considered what I had in the house, and got started. I started some Trader Joe's quick cook brown rice which takes about 10 minutes. I did it with just water and a little salt so I'd have leftover rice I could use later.

Next I trimmed the chicken, mixed my spices (Old Bay is gluten-free). I heated my brand new 12 inch cast iron skillet, brushing the olive oil up the sides since I haven't used it before. (It is seasoned but still, that's me, okay.) Then in the chicken went. Ah, I've missed you, cast iron. I waited a couple minutes and turned it, waited again, then put it in the oven.

When the chicken was done, I put it in a dish with a lid to stay warm while I "fried" about half my rice in the skillet, adding the seasonings (Franks Hot Sauce is also gluten-free) from the recipe. I knew that Mick wouldn't want the black eye peas so I added a half can of peas and carrots. After I had his out of the pan onto his plate, I added black eye peas to mine to warm.
This is his; mine is better!
The verdict: naturally gluten free and very, very tasty. That's some yum--expect repeats. The hot sauce does NOT make it spicy; it just adds some flavor.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Eggplant Sauce

I have a crazy amount of eggplant coming in so I picked a couple with a couple of bell peppers and some basil from the garden.

 I chopped everything up with some portabello mushrooms and started cooking it. I added a jar of marinara sauce.
 I served it over spaghetti squash.
 And added green olives.
 Pretty good.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Turkey Tomatillo Stew

It was one of those days when I was supposed to be at three places. I chose to volunteer at an annual event with some colleagues.

When I got home, I started the crockpot. We were heading to Costco to buy Halloween candy and other supplies. I hoped I'd find something I could use for a costume but there wasn't really any inspiration. We did see a $550 outdoor nativity scene. Wow, that's a lot of money for something that's going to be stolen outta your yard.

When we got home, I had some soup. This was the Chicken Tomatillo Soup I made from my Paleo Comfort Foods cookbook a while ago, but I used turkey breast and I had the poblano chilies this time. It was good but it didn't look like the previous soup OR the photo. Hmm. I think it would have been better if I made it without the meat and blended it some and then added the meat. It was too chunky but brothy for me. I added some corn and avocado at the last minute to make it better.

Surprisingly comfortable dance shoes
I put on my ASU pajamas and my Bugs Bunny slippers and called it a costume for the neighborhood Halloween party. The neighborhood parties are interesting. We found out that the empty house across the street has coyotes hanging out in the backyard. (The neighbor who owns it stopped by and found 2 laying in the yard. She used to feed the feral cats; we didn't tell her that we really haven't seen any cats recently.)

One of the neighbors had their Halloween decorations stolen out of their yard. Several neighbors said they just put their stuff out the one night. Some said that it's sometimes pranks--their kids are in high school--but the kids don't realize that it's still stealing. Wow. I'm never buying anything new for yard decorations. Unless it can be anchored somehow...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

What stress?

I was supposed to get information from my endrocrinologist at my last visit about the difference between the thyroidectomy and the radiation options as well as information about doctors they recommend. Of course, after I left the office, I realized that I was empty-handed.

Mick is anxious for me to take steps; he already had his helper pull surgeon information. So today I called the endo office to have the promised information sent to me. Except I got their voice mail. Then someone called back. It took awhile but I thought she (maybe a front office person) understood what I was asking.

I needed to drop some shirts at the dry cleaner so I told my friend J that I'd be at Babbo for lunch. She met me although it's a tad far for her. I had my usual roast chicken pesto primavera, no cheese, no pesto with a mista salad, no cheese, no bread. J had the same but will all my no's.

I had an appointment with Dr. M, the naturopathic chiropractor, with a new student and a student I've met before. They talked about cerebral cranial syndrome or something like that. I had explained that the popping in my shoulder actually feels like it's popping halfway down the upper arm but that doesn't make sense--it's a straight bone there. But Dr. M says that is a direct line to the neck, where I carry stress. Hmmm, interesting. Everything that hurts originates elsewhere.

My contact fell out of my left eye this morning while I was talking to someone in the office. It's so damn freaky. So Dr. M ended up pressing a point on my left eyebrow, almost to the inner edge, for a long moment, and it did NOT feel good. In fact, most of the adjustments he made on me did not feel good today. I seemed overly sensitive or something. I wanted to curse. Instead, I was more quiet than I would usually be. But I still talked with them. I just didn't want to sound all Tourett's-like: shit, that fucking hurts, damnit. So I limited my "ow's" that I was sure would turn into "fuck you's."

I think I'm sleeping okay but I'm under a lot of stress. I'm behind on everything. A big project at work that I was only supposed to have minimal involvement in got me some interesting (not in a good way) feedback. Then the person who was going to "finish" the project didn't work on it right away so when the person was done, well, come on, get those letters sent out NOW. Of course, that meant a lot of rework once everyone actually had a chance to look at it and question it. But it was still under the direction of send it NOW. And something else that was "not urgent" suddenly became urgent, pushing something very important and slightly urgent to the back burner. Where it could simmer and boil over. And then of course, the many small projects that aren't urgent but are important are just sitting on my list. Waiting patiently-ish.

I felt achy, but I had already promised a coworker I would go to his "tapas" party and he had asked about what I could eat so I felt obligated. He sent an email with his phone number but not his address, so I had to go look it up. And then I passed it. Twice. And I was late, the last to arrive. Because I was working.

He had proscuitto, dates, plain almonds, pork skewers, and goat cheese stuffed sweet peppers for me to eat and also manchego (he said it was sheep's milk but I don't know that I can have that--I'm allergic to whey, not lactose), croquettas, and bruschetta. I had a little red wine. He also offered a bubbly white wine and he explained that they use yeast in the fermentation process to make the bubbles but there's no yeast in it. I decided not to try it.

After I left, I felt a little bad or unsocial. I barely said "I'm leaving" to him and didn't really say bye to anyone else that was still there before I took off. It probably seemed rude. I hope not. I was just fuzzy brained by then. I had moments of clearness during the conversations but then I was back in the fog.

I'm utterly exhausted. And my arm hurts.

Update: I actually have a bruise on my arm where he used the adjustor. That's unusual. It hurts.

Friday, October 19, 2012


A few days ago, I was contacted about an all day meeting I was obligated to attend today. I was contacted because the lunch order is being placed. The caterer is bringing enchiladas. The person coordinating it asked if that was okay for me since they are using corn tortillas. *sigh*

That would be a no. I gave her my no list and offered to bring my own lunch. There was also some breakfast provided. I thought I would stop at the gluten-free bakery for something, but they don't open till 9 so I went to Lucy's to get a smoothie. I found out that the protein powder has amaranth powder so I can't have that but I had a berry smoothie which was a little weird because they use lemonade.

I brought my own creamer so I could have some coffee. For lunch, I brought an Amy's frozen tamale dinner (one of the non-dairy ones) with a Wholly guacamole packet and Garden of Eden chips. There was guacamole provided but I wasn't sure of what was in it. Same for the rice. But I did chance it and have some the salsa. But I ignored the beans. And the giant bowl of Halloween candy. And the chocolate chip cookies.

Life belongs to those who participate.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Craniosacral is the word

Dr. M was running quite late so the student questioned me from head to toe. My knee had been hurting and of course, my shoulder, so those were my primary complaints.

Dr. M had two new students for this session and he did a lot of instruction for them. A lot was over my head but I caught craniosacral when he was adjusting my face bones. I keep having pain in my right ear and I'm pretty sure it happens when I've been clenching my jaw during sleep. I felt good when I left but I lost all my eyeliner and mascara on the paper on the face rest.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

Garden update

When I got home and let the dogs out, they went crazy over by the fig tree. I went out and the mesh covering was half pulled off and they were trying to get this:
 I let him out and picked my one fig (a couple had been bird attacked):
*Is* one the loneliest number?
I can't figure out when the pomegranates are ready, so I picked one red specimen. It wasn't ready. I pulled another off that had been bug attacked.
Apple tree-ish
The things are growing! (may include some weeds...)
Who knew eggplant was a bush that could kill mint and marigolds?
Theeeyyyy'rrrreee coooommmiiiinnnggg!
Strawberry fields forever. And tomatoes. And stuff.
Pecan tree stick.
Gah! Walnut tree. (sunflowers started behind)
Black-eyed peas. And lots of grass weeds--have to be dug up, can't be pulled.  Sigh.
Blurry okra. More grass weeds.
And there are new ant piles between the garden box and the (dry) water retaining basin. Yay.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


I love the great outdoors. In limited doses. I like camping--the social parts and the hiking parts. But I could do without the peeing and pooping in the woods and the no showering.

My husband put in for an elk hunting tag with some others, except that they didn't put in for what they said they were going to so then he got his tag for this unit. Some others he knew also got tags there at that time for muzzle loader hunting, so he talked to them about coming along. We had them for dinner recently; Mick feels like he's really tagging along, so he offered to bring ribs. We ended up making ribs and a pulled pork for his trip. They have a week, and several people were going along for some camping too. They talked me into coming camping for the weekend.

Since he had already gone up to the campsite with his dad, I just had to pack for me and the dogs. It took me a lot longer than I expected and I got on the road later than I wanted. I had a terribly hard time trying to figure out what to take to eat. But I packed some food and drinks (water and coconut water--it's not good but it's good for you) and clothes. And stuff for the dogs. And pillows--he forgot pillows. And I finally got on the road.

I stopped in Camp Verde for gas and a bathroom stop for me and the dogs. I missed the exit for Williams and ended up in Flagstaff. It was getting dark. I got turned back around and made it through Williams. It was dark by the time I headed south so I stayed near the speed limit. Someone was right behind me when I had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting 3 deer or elk. He got off my ass then and turned off soon after. I missed the turn for the campsite. I thought I misunderstood the directions he gave me so I kept going until he called. I had missed it by about 10 miles. Oops. I was so frustrated. I had to hit the brakes a total of 6 times for elk and/or deer in the road as well as twice because Cassi was trying to break down my barricade. She gets so stressed out in the car that she tries to come into the front. I finally made it to the turn where he was waiting to show me the rest of the way.

I won't bore you with ALL the gory details, but I spent 2 nights. The night I got in, I had a salad for dinner followed by some maple pecans. Mick and my FIL went out super early, like 3:30 am, and I had already been up with Cassi once. And then 3 more times before they got back. One of those times, I ate half my vanilla coconut milk yogurt with some Enjoy Life Mountain Mambo "granola." I read for a little until my head hurt and then went back to sleep. When they got back, I had an Enjoy Life sunbutter bar and half my OJ. They were eating cereal--Apple Jacks and Frosted Flakes. (Diabetic and pre-diabetic. Hmm.)

The group decided on a late lunch and snacked on Tomato Wheat Thins; I had Kettle Crinkle chips I brought. For lunch everyone pulled food out: ribs, enchiladas, posole, salad, chips. I had ribs and salad with dressing I brought. I wanted to have posole but she used chicken broth so I was not going to chance it. The ribs were fantastic, of course. Mick had purchased a Jose Cuervo margarita for me and I had it and hung out with the girls for a while chatting.

Can't. Wake. Up.
The hunters went out again for the evening hunt. I went to sleep before the sun went down. I heard them return and the campfire stories start but I was so groggy, I couldn't make myself get up. I woke up several times when Cassi had to go out but he took her out. They headed out later, maybe around 5 am. I got up with Cassi the next time. I had my yogurt and granola and did a little reading until my head hurt and went back to sleep. I decided not to feed the dogs, but gave Cassi a little of the yogurt, hoping it might help her with her diarrhea she had all day yesterday. (Like mother, like...?) I let Teka lick the container and she was so adorable with the little yogurt spots across the top of her nose.

When they got back, my FIL asked if I wanted the rest of his coffee. It was just black so I thanked him and added some coconut milk creamer that I brought. Then he asked if I wanted eggs. I thought, he's probably going to cook them in butter, so I said no. Seriously. That is totally what I thought. And then I remembered I can't eat eggs. I am allergic to eggs. But I'm thinking about how he's going to cook them. WTF is wrong with me? (Besides I'm allergic to eggs.) I had a peanut butter Larabar and the rest of my OJ. I had already started packing the car so we continued after he took some photos of the dogs in flowers. The group was starting lunch, all stuff I couldn't eat, so I had a salad with coconut water and chips and guacamole.

I had gone through about 6 Nalgene bottles of water, and I drank the last one on my way down the mountain. I'm not sure if I would do a repeat of this trip. I like the walking with the dogs part, but I felt gross pretty early on. I took a shower within half an hour of being home. I like the people he went with but I did get the feeling he was treated like a tag-along. That's alright I guess. I'm hoping that he'll get his elk, with or without their help, this week.

Friday, September 28, 2012


Last Monday, I had my quarterly Alemtuzamab trial visit with Dr. M the neurologist. When he tested my with the little pin pricks, I realized that the come-and-go numbness I have in my left leg was present. It was very obvious in both the outside of the foot and the calf.

A couple days later, I told my husband that it hadn't gone away as it usually does. A few days later, Mick asked when I was going to have to report it. Hmmm. So this week, I called Dr. G's, my neurologist, office, and they told me to call the research office. After some phone tag, L told me she was getting in touch with Dr. G's office. A little more phone tag and we scheduled an appointment for the time right before I'm heading out of town.

L and I were both late so I apologized to Dr. G for taking his lunch hour. He was very reassuring that he would always see me, something about my MS, blah, blah, blah. Then we discussed my symptoms. He can be very aggressive in his questioning; it seems like an interrogation where you've been caught lying. Gulp.

Then he did the exams, similar to what Dr. M had done the previous week. When he touched my legs, I really couldn't tell the difference. When he did the pin prick test, I thought I had more feeling than previously but the left was not as good as the right. He didn't agree--he jabbed the pin into my left foot--jab, jab, jab, jab, jab. Yep, I feel it.

He made his notes and told me that I *could* be having a relapse but it's not a relapse for the trial protocol. Yay, I don't have to have an infusion. But he wants to know if it gets worse. Which is why I waited so long to report it in the first place.

I saw L again before leaving. She explained that my EDDS score had actually gone down when I saw Dr. G and it was still about the same with Dr. G. Seriously, my score has improved while my foot and leg are numb. WTH.

I noticed that I could see the pinpricks in the top of my left foot--five holes in a little cluster. Wow, he really did jab me. "You will feel this, dammit!" Yep, I feel it burning.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

TMJ what?

There's a new group of students. A couple of ladies were the students today. I mentioned that my right ear and jaw hurt when I woke up but it subsided and this happens occasionally. Dr. M did an adjustment on my face and said some kind of TMJ terminology to the student. Hmm.

I noticed that I didn't feel the adjuster tool as much on my left calf. He tried to tell me he only had it on one, but I felt it just fine on the right. Whatever.

Dr. M did his usual routine with the actual trigger points varying. He had one student put her finger on a point on my back and hold it for a while. Ow.
Serenity garden out front
I like the wall. Nice seating.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Agility class - visitor edition

Teka seemed to have a lot of fun tonight. The first exercise was distance. There is a line on the ground from the jump on the right straight back. Of course, Teka needed more support than that. We tried it two ways. First we lined up way out on the right so she could go over both front jumps to the weaves to the last jump. We also tried the first two jumps as a U turn, kind of a slingshot approach. I couldn't get the distance either way. She did pretty well on her weaves the first time but skipped random weaves each time through. I did not correct her, just clicked and praised for the ones she did and tried to keep it fun and upbeat.

Right jump toward tunnel but don't take the tunnel; take jump to weaves and jump on end.
Next we did an exercise that the previous class had done as a serpentine but we did it the harder way. So we headed left to right over the A-frame. There are three parallel jumps. She went over the one on the right, then between them, over the middle, between them and over the one on the right. (A serpentine version would look like a backward S.) Then the jump toward the front of the photo, but going around it and coming  back over it towards the parallel jumps. Then a U turn over the barely visible jump in the middle, the jump to the right background, into the tunnel, then RUUUUN so she takes the left jumps. She likes the RUUUUN.

Turns and twists and front turns....
From the other side

Last we did another focus exercise. We started at the far right jump, over the middle jump, over the front jump, over the first jump and the second jump, to the near side of the tunnel, over the winged jump on the left of the photo, and over the jump in the front again. It was basically a circle, a half circle. After the tunnel, I was able to use a front cross for Teka, but had to be careful that I didn't go all the way out as it isn't necessary. A distance practice. We need a lot of that!
Circle, half circle, tunnel, turns.
The starting jump on the left, second jump on right.
The course is fenced in but in a residential neighborhood. We  had a visitor tonight. The not-cat (small-dog, coincidentally) people shooed the cat away and she came back. Repeat. While we were doing our exercises, the cat came back and someone put it in a kennel for its safety. She was so friendly and social and awesome. I wanted to take her home but I'm not ready to get divorced AND I'm sure she belonged to someone. Yes, she had claws, and no, she did not use them. Teka was SOOOO excited about the kitty; I couldn't let her play long because she got vocal and it's in a residential neighborhood.

Soft Kitty, Pretty Kitty